Hail, and well met! I am Clarence, Guildmaster of the Healers of Chesapeake guild. A dedicated healer, I am one of many that enjoy helping out my fellow man on a constant basis. I hope I can share some of the knowledge I've collected during my career as a wandering healer...
Creating a dedicated healer character is very rewarding, and is ideal for a new player. It's quite profitable, as you can do much with few supplies, and what supplies you need come cheap. It's a great way to find friends and allies, and become a trusted, respected citizen of Britannia. It also can help you learn the game, and see parts you might never see otherwise. I had been playing for a long time before I started my healing career, and since then every character I've created has been a healer of some sort, even if not a 'pure' healer.
A caveat about this document: when I first submitted this for review by the healer community, a few of my colleagues suggested that the model used would not work, that magery skill was required, as was a 'money-making' skill to pay for the magery. I believe that magery is a (much abused) tool, and one that can be lived without. Many people shy away from the healer profession because they believe it to be expensive; This document will show you how to make a 'zero-cost' healer. Magery defeats that purpose (and then makes the 'money making' skill a necessity), and as such will not be addressed here.
Basic Character Creation: Before you begin, decide what abilities you want to concentrate on. Decide on a character image - we will choose skills that reflect that image. Begin a character with 44 strength, 11 dexterity, and 10 intelligence. The constant practice of the healing skills raises intelligence really quickly, so you will constantly be fighting to hang on to a little strength. Starting with 44 gives you a start in the right direction. ANd the 11 dexterity means you won't be fatigued every time you bump into something.
Now, let us consider the absolutely essential skills of your profession:
Next, there are combat skills to consider. Unless you plan on staying in town, or are very confident in your running abilities, you will need these. I wouldn't recommend passing them by, anyhow.
- Healing: Obviously the most important skill, you hope to someday raise this to 100.
- Anatomy: Required to use Healing skill for curing and resurrecting, you will want to raise this skill to at least 81.
Next, there are a few 'electives' to consider. I recommend the following two:
- Tactics: The basis of any combat skill.
- A weapon skill: This is personal preference. I personally like mace fighting - leaning on a gnarled staff fits my character image, and a few whacks from it makes those monsters hit so much slower. Swordsmanship means you can carry a skinning knife - that looks quite a bit like a surgical scalpel. Others prefer to stick with wrestling, and never carry a weapon. Choose one, and stick with it.
Consider replacing Spirit Speak with Stealth, for a character that can get out of really sticky situations. Or Begging, for a character that can generate a little gold in a pinch. Or mining, to eliminate the strength problem and generate a lot of money over time...
- Spirit Speak: Few people actually carry this skill, but it comes in really handy when dealing with your recently deceased patients. It also fits the healer character concept well.
- Hiding: Personally, I consider this one essential on all my characters. But then again, I often put myself in highly dangerous situations... Overall, hiding is one of the best survival skills in the game.
Regardless, this gives you six skills to work towards 100. I recommend leaving the last 100 (of the 700 skill point maximum) as sort of 'slush fund'. You will inevitably pick up a little bit of resisting spells and some wrestling (it happens to the best of us), and this allows you to pick them up without losing a precious point from your career skills.
Choosing a name for your character is important... You'll be healing a lot of strangers, and they are much more likely to trust a "Clarence", than a "HurtMonger". Personally, I wouldn't let someone named "IRoxUSux" stand anywhere near me... Consider the names of the first few healer guildmasters: Lissa, Kris Quicksilver, Chanur Silvarian, Faesia, Ibn Shaun, and Clarence. It's really important to choose wisely now, as you're stuck with your choice for the life of your character, and his or her success may truly depend upon it.
Now, choose your starting skills... I very highly recommend putting 50 points into healing - then you are only 10 or so points away from being able to cure. The other 50 points can be put into anatomy, if you wish, but anatomy is fairly easy to raise (at least at low levels). If you want resisting spells, put that last 50 into that skill, as it is costly to raise.
Take a deep breath, and click Create Character... Welcome to the world!
First things first... if we are going to play the role of a healer, we should look like one. Starting with the healing skill will give you a newbiefied 'healer brown' robe. Throw that on, as you will be easily identifiable as a healer. If you ever need another for whatever reason, you can get one easily in the following manner: Put all of your belongings in the bank. Find the healer shop in town (say <name> where is the healer shop? to an NPC if you need help) and attack a healer. That's right, attack them. They will call the guards, and you will die. Fortunately, we healers usually have a good sense of humor - they will realize it was just a joke, and two minutes later will resurrect you... and in apology will give you a robe that you cannot lose! Ack, but it is the wrong color... Find the local tailor shop, and buy a dye tub and a dye set... use the dyes to try and match the brown color of a healer's robe, and dye your robe.
Look in your pack... you will have a pair of scissors, and some bandages. Both of these are 'newbie', just like the robe. You cannot lose them, unless you give them away, or drop them. Cool, huh? Lets create a second new character with some different skills, and get a few more items... Choose the ones that fit your healer's image:
Buy a bag at the provisoner's, or grab a discarded one, and use it to transfer the items (they decay VERY quickly if you put them on the ground) from your second character to your healer. Good, now you have all the tools you need to start working... Find the tailors shop again, and buy five spools of thread... now use them on the tailors loom, one at a time... after you use the fifth, a bolt of cloth will be created in your bag. Use your scissors on the bolt, and it makes bandages.
- Begging: Start with this skill, and you get a newbie gnarled staff...
- Mace Fighting: Start with this skill, and you get a newbie mace... good if you want to be a cleric-type healer.
- Tracking: Start with this skill, and you get a newbie skinning knife (makes a great scalpel) and newbie boots (dyeable! Very chic...)
- Wrestling: Start with this skill, and you get a pair of newbie gloves... another neat costuming choice...
- Fishing: Start with this skill, and you get a floppy hat! Need I say more?
Now, lets work up your healing a little... there are several ways of proceeding...
Skill gain is relative to the amount of damage you actually heal, not how much you could have... If you could heal 40 points of damage, but the patient was only damaged 20 points, only 20 points counts towards gain... The third method above is the best, in my opinion, as you will run into many (dead) warriors with 90 - 100 strength.
- With a partner: If you can find a friend to train with, you can raise skill fairly quickly. Find a quiet place, and spar. Fight naked... else your clothing may be destroyed by this punishment. When one of you gets low on health, heal. You will eventually find an amount of damage where you sometimes fail to heal (you get the message "You apply the bandages, but they barely seem to help.") You want to aim for this point. Lower than that, and you will fail too much. Higher than that, and it will be too easy to heal, and you will not gain skill. Along the way, you will also gain tactics and weapon skill, as well as some strength and dexterity. The downside is that unless you join a guild, you may be flagged criminal, and are attackable.
- Alone: Find a high ledge you can fall off of. There is a guard tower on the southern end of Britain, and cliffs near the archery range in northeast Britain that are pretty good for this purpose. Another spot is in the guarded area in Delucia, it is between the healers and the inn at the water. Just walk towards the water and you fall down to the shore. Slightly more risky (out of guard range), there are cliffs just south of the Trinsic moongate... Where ever you choose, jump off of the cliff repeatedly until you are reduced to 0 hp, then heal. Fear not, You will not die. Just as above, you will find a 'sweet spot' to aim for. This method is quite boring, and only raises your healing.
- With some effort: Find a busy healer shop, I recommend the ones in Papua and Delucia... they have dangerous areas nearby, and generate many ghosts. Wait for a ghost to get resurrected, then say something like "I will heal thee" (I recommend creating a macro for it) and apply bandages. This method is less boring, and much more fulfilling than the previous two - you said you wanted to be a healer, might as well practice the art. Only your healing goes up, but you can practice your hiding or anatomy while you wait for patients, and you become known to the locals. Also, people often bring you gifts for helping them out, and you can really use the support!
One point of note: bandaging your own wounds takes 15 seconds, while healing another takes only 5 seconds. Working with others is definitely more efficient than working alone.
This will raise your Healing skill from 50 to 55-65. Somewhere in this range, you will stop gaining skill, and need to start curing poison. There are two paths to choose from now:
Remember that you cannot successfully cure until you have 60+ in both Anatomy and Healing. The second method is so dramatically slower, that I suggest raising your Healing skill to at least 70 before you try it. Realize, though, that once you raise your Anatomy high enough to cure, method one is much less effective.
- The fast way: Keep your Anatomy low. Buy some nightshade, and have an alchemist turn it into Lesser Poisons. Poison yourself, and attempt to cure yourself until it wears off... This is really boring, but effective: you can raise your Healing skill to 75-80 with this method.
- The fun way: Raise your Anatomy to 60+. Now you can actually go adventuring, and cure poison. Go adventuring in Despise... you'll be poisoned in no time. *grin*
Just as above, curing yourself takes 18 seconds, while curing another takes only 6 seconds.
Now it is time to begin your real career as a healer - resurrecting the fallen. Raise your Anatomy to 80+, and seek out ghosts. Resurrecting a ghost takes 10 seconds, and just like healing and curing only costs a single bandage. This is a good time to work on weapons skills (and perhaps Hiding), as the more dangerous locations produce more patients to work on. Once your Anatomy and Healing are above 81 or so, you will begin successfully resurrecting. Resurrect every ghost you see, or find a partner ghost to practice on. The road to grandmaster is a long one, but it is well worth it.
Now, you might be asking "How is this all profitable?". Well, whenever you go out to heal, take only cloth with you (50 yards is good for a new player, I carry 100 normally, and 200 for dungeon crawls). Along the way, look for a better weapon or armor, as well as treasure. If you die, you lose only the bandages, and whatever you picked up along the way. Remember all of those newbie items? You always have them. In addition, if you see a nice fluffy sheep, shear it. Spin the wool into yarn, and weave 5 balls of yarn into a bolt of cloth. Every sheep you shear is equivalent to 30 free bandages!
As your other skills increase, you will find your ability to survive increases as well. All that stuff you picked up will begin finding its way into town, and your bank balance will go up. Since you don't need to withdraw from that money (no weapons or armor to buy, no reagents to scrounge up) you'll easily have enough to live on.
Once you are proficient in the art (and I mean not only having healing and anatomy skill, but experience in applying them in awkward situations) you can do amazing things. With only 90 healing and anatomy, for instance, you will average 55 damage healed per bandage - do that to a warrior every five seconds, and he can stand up against almost anything. And if he should fall after you start a bandage, but before it is fully applied, you may have him resurrected before his corpse hits the dirt.
Here are some very important resources for healers, both run by the Healers of Britannia guild:
Here are the healer's guilds that currently have web pages:
This should get you started, and well on your way. Welcome to the healing arts! The world can always use more of us...